“Everything you need is already on the inside of you.”

-Mignon Francois


In honor of International Women’s Day 2021, Her Story of Success was honored to join Collective615 for ChallengeHER, an event celebrating women who are affecting change in Nashville and beyond. As part of the event, Her Story of Success CEO Leah Glover Hayes hosted a panel discussion with three incredible women who are affecting change in Nashville and beyond — Mignon Francois, Domonique Townsend and Alexis Isham.

They discuss some of the challenges they’ve faced as women business owners, especially during the difficulties of COVID-19. The women also share some amazing lessons about the things that have kept them going in times of hardship, and they talk about some of the ways we can all help each other succeed. 

Their Stories of Success

Mignon Francois was living on her last $5 when a neighbor asked to order cupcakes from her home bakery. Mignon took that $5 and continued to multiply, eventually building The Cupcake Collection into a multi-million dollar business. Mignon’s bakery helped revitalize her Nashville neighborhood, and she’s been honored as a Woman of Legend and Merit by Tennessee State University and an Emerging Business Leader of the Year. The Cupcake Collection, which now includes locations in Nashville and New Orleans, also won Black Enterprise Magazine’s Family Business of the Year Award.  Listen to Mignon’s full episode here.

Domonique Townsend spent years being undervalued by the companies she worked for, and when she decided to take the leap to start her own business, she knew she was ready to reach a higher potential. Domonique is the founder of We Optimize Work, a company that creates strategies and systems to help working moms and mom CEOs. As an operations coach and workflow expert with more than 10 years of engineering experience, Domonique is able to help moms manage their work and raise a family without compromising their sanity or goals. Along with her years of industrial engineering experience, Domonique has trained or coached more than 3,100 people, and she’s a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. 

Alexis Cook Isham had to take a break from college after being diagnosed with Lymes Disease, and during her time off, she built friendships with people experiencing homelessness in Nashville. Alexis and her friend Corbin decided to build a business that would help people overcoming homelessness and other challenging circumstances. The result was Unlocked (recently rebranded under the name Resera), an ethical jewelry brand that employs and empowers women survivors overcoming homelessness, domestic violence, incarceration and forced relocation. Alexis is an Ingram Scholar alumna who graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2018, and she’s passionate about using her leadership to increase opportunity and elevate the voices of marginalized women.

Episode Transcript

Sponsors: The ChallengeHER event was sponsored by HeyHey Creative, White Door Events, nFocus, Kathy Thomas Photography, OneHope, Walker Brothers, Johnson Squared, Copperheart Creative, WesterHouse Weddings, Nashville Audio Visual, Our DJ Rocks, Suzie Marketing and Bibs Balloons